Physical Layer Security and Cooperative PLC

While physical layer security (PLS) is a well understood topic in wireless communications, we have only recently addressed PLS in Power Line Communications (PLC). The PLC channel has very peculiar characteristics that render it different from the well understood radio channel,” Andrea Tonello says and he further comments, “Signal propagation in PLC networks is affected by a certain level of determinism that significantly influences the channel statistics and introduces correlation between the channel of the intended user and an eavesdropper. All of this affects the secrecy rate – a measure for the achievable speed of communication with complete confidentiality”.

The work on PLS has obtained the IET Premium Award 2016. It attests the outstanding research carried out by prof. Tonello’s group on Power Line Communications.

Prof. Tonello and his group received three best paper awards in 2016: the IET Premium Award and two Best Paper Awards at IEEE ISPLC 2016. “We are devoting great endeavors to the field of PLC where we carry out research at experimental as well as theoretical level. We look at applications that can directly boost the PLC market ranging from home networking to smart grids and in-vehicle communications. This award is such a great encouragement to keep our focus and contribute even more,” Andrea Tonello states.

Another important aspect is to increase energy efficiency of PLC networks through the use of cooperative protocols. In a recent paper we investigated the use of relaying techniques equipped with energy-harvesting capabilities to achieve this goal. The combination of energy harvesting and decode and forward relaying improved the energy efficiency improvements by more than 30% compared to conventional decode and forward relaying schemes. Furthermore, we considered the application of non-orthogonal multiple access (NOMA) techniques in cooperative PLC networks. Part of this work was carried out in collaboration with a team at the Metropolitan University of Manchester, UK.

Selected Publications

K. Rabie, B. Adebisi, E. H. G. Yousif, H. Gacanin, and A. M. Tonello. A Comparison between Orthogonal and Non-Orthogonal Multiple Access in Cooperative Relaying Power Line Communication Systems. IEEE Access, 2017.

K. Rabie, B. Adebisi, A. M. Tonello, and G. Nauryzbayev. For More Energy Efficient Dual-hop DF Cooperative Relaying PLC SystemsIEEE Systems Journals, 2017.

W. Bakkali, P. Pagani, T. Chonavel, and A. M. Tonello. Energy Efficiency Performance of Decode and Forward MIMO Relay PLC Systems. In Proc. IEEE International Symposium on Power Line Communications and its Applications, 2016 (best paper award).

A. Pittolo and A. M. Tonello. Physical Layer Security in Power Line Communication Networks, Physical and Data-Link Security Techniques for Future Communication Systems. Lecture Notes in Electrical Engineering, 2015.

A. Pittolo and A. M. Tonello. Physical Layer Security in PLC Networks: An Emerging Scenario, Other Than Wireless. IET Communications, 2014 (best paper award).